Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thanks mom for reading to me

I was visiting my brother at his office yesterday and I noticed this quote embroidered on a pillow on his desk: "Richer than me, you will never be, for I had a mother that read to me." It caught my eye and I remembered that the pillow had belonged to our mother. It was a bittersweet memory for she passed away several years ago. But, ultimately it was a joyful one. I will forever be grateful for her unconditional love, her unfailing support, and she read to me!

Mom - Margie Johnson
My mother surrounded her children with literature. As children, we were read to, and encouraged to read and write on our own. She also involved us in the creative process. When we were little, she wrote stories, dressed us up in costumes, created sets inside and outside our house, took pictures of us acting the story, put the pictures and text into a book, and presented it to grandparents as a gift. She encouraged us to write our own plays. One summer visiting grandparents in NY, my siblings and I turned the basement into a theatre and performed (to rave reviews) our own version of The Three Little Pigs. During Christmas, we always provided any visiting relatives with a silly and enjoyable play. She taught us to play charades and enjoy being creative as we acted without words.  

During my childhood, the TV was off (there were no video games) and it was up to us to have fun. My siblings, friends, and I created worlds in our backyard tree house, down by the pond, in living room forts, down by the muck farms, wherever! I even created a library world - I spent the day turning the family room couch into a library and bugging my family to come check out books. One time I became a reporter for the day. Using an old manual typewriter, I wrote an entire newspaper (maybe 4 pages) on the exciting and crazy lives of my grandparent's mobile home residents in Tavares, FL. I rode around on my grandmother's three wheeled bicycle (basically spying on her neighbors) and recording it for posterity.  

As I grew, books and stories remained in my life. I tried to follow my mother's example. The Christmas plays were now written by my mother and myself, and the grandchildren were the performers. I read to my children and encouraged them to enjoy creating. During summer vacations, we all read one book together each night before bed. My children created worlds that they recorded on film. With their friends and cousins, they found props, made sets, wrote dialogue, and created original movies. They have grown into intelligent, loving, and curious individuals!

Now that I'm all grown up and a children's librarian, I am surrounded by stories even more. Every day I have the great privilege of sharing these stories with children in my community.

So, thanks Mom, for reading to me. I love you. Happy Mother's Day,